There are so many reasons why travel broadens your horizons and opens your mind. And judging by the number of travel blogs and enthusiasts out there, I’m not alone in truly believing that travel is so very good for the soul.
I’ve spoken to lots of parents who believe it’s too much hassle to take a young child away – and although I would agree to a certain degree as you have to be pretty organised – I don’t believe you have to travel the world in one extended global trip or even head to far-flung, exotic destinations to reap the benefits of travel. After all, this isn’t financially viable for a lot of families, who are struggling to make ends meet in this tough climate. Choose countries closer to home; a staycation or even a short trip to the seaside – travel doesn’t have to be expensive.
However, travel teaches a person, young and old, life experiences that cannot be taught in a classroom or learned from a book. Travel can:
Open children’s minds
It’s a big world out there, and we can all get trapped in the insular bubble of the environment we are used to. Travelling is an assault on the senses… Different languages, different religions, different foods and different cultures. Children will benefit hugely from experiencing different ways of life – it will make them more curious, question their surroundings and make them realise we are all different, but that different doesn’t necessarily mean bad.
Travel is an education. Whether you visit a historic monument in Scotland, ancient ruins in Greece or a museum in New York , the joy of learning why something is there, and seeing it with your own eyes, instantly makes it more interesting. But aside from history and the past, you also have the natural wonders of our planet – from national parks, to watching dolphins swim in the ocean or discover how Aborigines live in the Australian bush – travelling to these wonderful places opens up the experience of learning and is far more interesting than any text book.
Teach children humility
We live in a particularly materialistic world. Travel, though, can show children (and adults) that not all people have the same luxuries in life; that people have to work extremely hard just to feed their families. But that doesn’t mean they are unhappy – or have a chip on their shoulders. Over the years we have met some wonderful people who have taken the time to help without expecting anything in return, and it can be a truly humbling experience. It’s a good thing now and then to appreciate what you have, and even more so for children to understand not everyone in the world has clean running water, let alone an iPad or a car.
Teach children to be braver, patient and more adaptable
None of us like to be in situations which we can’t handle. But how are you ever going to know if you don’t step out into the unknown? This is true of taking on big challenges, but even small ones such as trying different cuisines, or talking to people you don’t know. Also, things don’t always go to plan when you travel, there could be delays, different routes, bad weather. Children are particularly robust, and more than we give them credit for. Travel will give them the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and thrive – and to learn to deal with disappointment when their expectations aren’t met.
Help a family to bond
Taking your child/ren away with you, will cement your relationship and give you valuable time together. They will benefit from you being more relaxed and not bogged down from chores that often get in the way of everyday life. You as parents will be able to devote more quality time to your children, and collectively experience new and exciting adventures together. You’ll learn the same things, see the same sights, and make memories that only you, as a family, can share together, therefore strengthening the bond between you all.